Regenerative development of the events industry has long been the driving force behind the GDS-Index and for the destinations that benchmark their performance against the comprehensive destination management, supplier, social and environmental criteria of the index.
Over the last ten years the community has grown to more than 78 destinations focused on transforming their business models connected to programmes like the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Guidelines (UNSDGs), industry sustainability certification and better waste and resource, biodiversity and human capital management.
The COP26 deal was agreed, and while Glasgow has not guaranteed 1.5°C, it has kept the prospect of achieving it alive. The last two weeks produced many solid national and citywide pledges to action within tourism, events, cities, finance and other industries. This creates unprecedented convergence between investors, businesses, cities and subnational regions that can and will drive authentic economic transformation.
By joining as a supporter of the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative we will use the GDS network and influence with destination management organisations to drive forward the Zero Carbon agenda.
Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative
This initiative aims to link all stakeholders in the corporate, professional, academic and destination communities world-wide that have also committed to engagement in what is one of the biggest collective challenges we all face today, and to invite those that have not yet done so to join.
A wide range of industry stakeholders have committed to:
– Jointly communicate our industry’s commitment to tackling climate change and driving towards net zero by 2050
– Develop common methodologies for measuring the industry’s direct, indirect and supply chain greenhouse gas emissions
– Construct an industry-wide roadmap towards net zero by 2050, and emissions reductions by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement, with support and guidance on key issues
– Foster collaboration with suppliers and customers to ensure alignment and common approaches
– Establish common mechanisms for reporting progress and sharing best practice
We will benchmark, assess, consult and educate destinations on how to develop and implement regenerative strategies that measure, reduce, eliminate, offset and report on carbon emissions beyond zero. We will also challenge and support destinations to develop strategies that address the biodiversity, social and human challenges and opportunities of climate change in cities.
This means facilitating destination management organisations to better align with municipal and national sustainable development agendas, and then create and implement destination management strategies that use events and tourism as a resource to catalyse and accelerate the transition to post carbon, circular and inclusive economies.
A vital part of this facilitation is leading skills development via the GDS Academy with its faculty of sector professionals who provide the latest training for the development of skill sets and mind sets for the new wave of DMO professionals.
There are three categories for sector participants to consider. You can join as an “Operator” if your company directly contributes to the production or delivery of an event – as an organiser, a venue, or a service provider. “Supporting Association” is applicable for associations from the Events Industry representing companies who fall within the category and are able to promote the initiative further amongst their members.
The “Partners” category is for all other stakeholders, including clients, suppliers and destinations.
The Pledge and all first Signatories were announced on 10th November at an event within the COP 26 conference in Glasgow.
The new initiative arises from the work of an organising task force initiated by JMIC members UFI, AIPC and ICCA joined by representatives of Emerald Expositions (US), Freeman (US), HKCEC (China), Informa (UK), Javits Center (US), MCI (Switzerland), Messe München (Germany), RX (UK) and Scottish Event Campus (UK) and it was born from a discussion with the UNFCCC secretariat — United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat — which is also supporting the initiative.
Signatories as well as Supporters will also be invited to join the working groups that will be setup to develop the Events Industry Net Zero Roadmap which will provide the pathway to support signatories’ delivery on the Pledge.
Now the real work now begins. We must all go back to our businesses, cities and associations, and turn these pledges into clear strategies with short-term action plans that radically reduces emissions towards a net zero target, while fighting inequality, poverty and supporting those in vulnerable communities.